Got to sleep in a little bit this morning, but breakfast finshed at 9:30am, so we couldn’t lie in too long. Breakfast was cereal and toast (with ham and cheese on the side!) – not too bad really. At least the milk was cold (the flavour of UHT milk has come a long way in recent years).
Today was to be organisation day. Tim, the British guy we met on the boat came down to our hostel to discuss plans for Saturday, and we ended up booking a bus to Parque Nacional Torres del Paine from the hostel – which was convenient.
We also needed to book our bus tickets to El Calafate for Monday – fortunately we could do that at the hostel as well. Cost was only 10,000 pesos each (AU$24) … as opposed to 12,000 each for the bus to Torres del Paine – which is only half the distance!.
We had been thinking of booking a second bus back to Puerto Natales, with an overnight stay before taking another bus down to Punta Arenas next Saturday, but we thought perhaps we should go via Rio Gallegos on the Argentinian Coast instead – somewhere different. We’ll make the decision in El Calafate on Monday.
We also managed to book a boat cruise for Sunday – again from the hostel … so convenient not needing to walk all over town to the various tourism offices to book this stuff. Puerto Natales seems to be basically a tourism town now – although unlike Bariloche it retains most of its rustic charm and is not overly touristy. Most people come here on their way to trek Torres del Paine – and the town is very well set up for this purpose – you can buy or hire pretty much everything you need for extended camping and treking, and also mountain climbing and similar activities.
We eventually headed out for lunch – the town is very quiet during the day and not much is open (other than tourism stores), we ended up back at the same pizza cafe for some “sandwiches”.
We spent some time in the afternoon relaxing and catching up on emails, then went out to find some food for our trip to the national park tomorrow.
I also needed to find a new battery charger – I think mine broke during the open ocean crossing the other day – it dropped onto the floor and now refuses to charge my batteries. This is a problem because just about everything electronic we have (other than the laptop and SLR camera) runs on rechargable batteries – I went out of my way to ensure that we could standardise that way. I did find a charger, but it only has the European style plugs used here in Chile, so it will be useless back home. It was only 4,500 (AU$11) pesos, so not too bad. If only I could work out whether it was working correctly – it doesn’t show when the batteries are fully charged!
We went out to dinner with Tim and a couple from the boat – another British guy and his Australian partner who have been living in Kiribilli but are now travelling the world for a year. They took us to a vegetarian restaurant, which we think was run by an Australian woman (we didn’t get a chance to ask). With desserts like chocolate and zucchini cake, orange and poppyseed cake, lemon cheesecake (which unfortunately they had run out of) … it did come across as a very Australian menu.
We got back to the hostel quite a bit later than we had planned (sat around talking too long!), we packed ready for our day trip tomorrow and hit the sack (in our new room – a double bed this time … unfortunately not as comfortable as the single beds!).